Video communications have been an invaluable way to maintain professional and personal connections while face-to-face interactions are limited by pandemic constraints. Communications providers AT&T, Verizon and Vonage all report record levels of video traffic across their networks since March as home-bound users turn to video tools to connect with customers, colleagues, friends and family. One recent study finds that one in three people take part in a video conversation at least once a week.
Video has been a standard part of the communication landscape for some time now. Video conferencing solutions, in particular, are well-established business tools, generating some $14 billion in sales in 2019. Analysts with Global Market Insights expect the market for these solutions to grow by more than 19 percent annually over the next five years.
Full-featured video conferencing platforms aren’t the only way to leverage video communications, however. A variety of tools that fall under the broad category of “videotelephony” enable everything from simple one-to-one video conversations to sophisticated, lifelike interactive experiences. Here’s a closer look at some of these tools:
Unlike most video communication tools meant to connect groups of people, video calling (or video chat) applications are typically used more for one-to-one video conversations. Smartphone video calling apps such as FaceTime for Apple devices and Google Duo for Android are easy to use and don’t require an additional account or device. You just open the app and select a phone number from your contact list to begin a call.
These solutions are designed for multiple people and devices. Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams and GoToMeeting are among the most popular applications in this space. Best-in-class solutions provide multiple ways to engage users and share ideas. You can share screens with colleagues, remotely access each other’s desktops, exchange files and cooperatively work with digital whiteboards.
For years, on-premises platforms were plagued by complexity. They tended to be large, room-based systems that required special monitors, cameras, servers and conferencing bridges at each end of the call. With the emergence of cloud-based services, there’s no need for expensive in-house hardware or dedicated conference rooms. Most services allow users to quickly set up a virtual meeting room to which they can invite meeting participants.
Collaboration suites provide real-time communication such as instant messaging and presence as well as voice and video conferencing and file-sharing. You don’t have to log in to separate applications to access these tools, and you can move from text messaging to a voice or video call with a couple of clicks. Best of all, collaboration suites allow you to follow “conversations” and track everything related to a particular topic, project or team without having to search through email. You can also access many third-party apps directly from the collaboration platform’s interface.
Although COVID-19 has disrupted normal business processes, research indicates that most organizations have experienced little to no loss of productivity. Video calling, conferencing and collaboration solutions have played a huge role by allowing disconnected team members to have face-to-face communications in order to share ideas, solve problems and accomplish tasks. Call us to learn more about the different ways you can leverage video communications to support your remote workforce.